The city of Tijuana in Mexico has made a clear statement to border-security advocates in the United States by erecting a piece of the Berlin Wall just a stone’s throw from the U.S.-Mexico border.
Mayor Montserrat Caballero and former Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard installed a shard of the Soviet-era wall at a ceremony last month – sending a clear message to those in the U.S. advocating for tougher border security. The plaque near its base reads: “May this be a lesson to build a society that knocks down walls and builds bridges.”
The message follows the U.S.’s continuing effort to expand its barriers along the nearly 2,000 miles of the shared border. However, Caballero insists that the wall was erected to remind people of the tragedy of the one in Berlin, which was originally installed by an occupying power to divide a nation against itself.
“Why in Tijuana? How many families have shed blood, labor and their lives to get past the wall?” Caballero asked. “The social and political conflict is different than the Berlin Wall, but it’s a wall at the end of the day. And a wall is always a sphinx that divides and bloodies nations.”
The mayor went on to stress that she respects the United States’ need to enforce its own borders but insists that the installment of the wall represents “violence” and “family separation” in the region.
President Biden has struggled with the wave of migrants illegally entering the country each month since January. U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported 183,503 migrant encounters in July alone, prompting Acting Commissioner Troy Miller to state that the agency would remain steadfast in its enforcement efforts against those who do not use lawful pathways or processes.
The President signed an executive order on his first day in office restricting the construction of any new border walls. Despite this, his administration is continuing to work on some projects that had already been contracted out before he took office.
The stark reminder of one of the most striking symbols of the Cold War highlights the contrast between the former barrier, which was constructed as part of a struggle to deprive citizens of their freedoms, and the modern U.S.-Mexico border, which is built in the name of bringing security to both nations. It is a warning not to forget the cost of walls in what is currently one of the most contentious immigration debates facing the nation.